Cardinal Carlo Martini, former archbishop of Milan, turned 80 yesterday. He’s no longer eligible to vote in a conclave.
This is something of a turning point. For a long time Martini has been liberals’ great hope for a papacy in contrast to that of Pope John Paul II and then Benedict XVI. Now that mantle must shift to another.
There are now only 109 members of the College of Cardinals under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a papal election. The normative number set by papal edict is 135. I expect Pope Benedict to hold another consistory this year to bring the number up.
Recall that last year we were told that Benedict would vary from JP2’s model of large consistories every few years and would instead hold smaller ones about annually.